Is your mattress giving you the support you need? A supportive mattress isn't only important for getting a comfortable night's sleep – it can also impact on your health.
When you're shopping for a new mattress, you should consider more than just its size and whether it fits your price range. You should also know how to choose a mattress that supports a healthy, well-rested sleep every night.
If you have specific health requirements, your doctor could give you advice about what type of mattress is best for your health. You should also visit your local mattress store to try their mattresses on for size and find your perfect fit.
Is your old mattress putting your health at risk?
If you haven't changed your mattress for a long time, or you didn't choose it to suit your sleeping posture, it could be doing more harm than you realise.
Most of us spend around one third of our lives sleeping. Over time, skin cells, other dirt and moisture from sweat can accumulate inside a mattress. This can attract allergy-causing dust mites, bacteria and mould and mildew that can trigger respiratory infections.
If you often suffer from back aches, neck pains or other aches and pains in your joints, this might be the fault of your mattress. Mattresses gradually change their shape through prolonged use and become less supportive. Our bodies and posture may change over time too.
Not getting a good night's sleep can be hazardous to health. Feeling tired or groggy can affect concentration and increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Studies have also linked poor quality sleep with a higher risk of psychological problems including anxiety, depression and impotence.
How to choose a mattress for a healthy sleep
Not all mattresses are equal. Even a high-quality luxury mattress might not be ideal for you if it doesn't match your sleeping style or preferences.
If you're in need of a new mattress, here are some of the most important questions to ask yourself or your mattress store:
Do you need a hard or soft mattress?
You might think a soft mattress sounds more appealing than a hard mattress, but this depends on your sleeping posture and your size. A soft mattress might not be supportive enough for some people, while others may find a hard mattress uncomfortable.
A soft mattress made from natural latex or light foam can be the best option for smaller or lighter sleepers. If you sleep on your side, a soft mattress will help to relieve pressure and tension on your hips and shoulders, reducing tossing and turning and preventing injuries.
If you usually sleep on your stomach, a hard mattress will help to keep your spine in alignment and relieve pressure on your lower back. A firm mattress with heavy gauge springs or a high density foam mattress may be recommended for taller or heavier people, as these distribute weight more evenly.
Medium firm mattress
If you usually sleep on your back, a medium firm mattress made from latex or memory foam will balance comfort and support and help to keep your spine properly aligned. If you need a firm mattress but don't want to sacrifice comfort, look for products with soft comfort layers made from natural wool or cotton to find your ideal balance.
Should you buy a spring, foam or latex mattress?
As well as firmness, different mattress materials can also have unique health benefits. If you or someone in your home has allergies, asthma, arthritis, back pain or other health issues, the right mattress can provide welcome relief. The wrong mattress could make the problem worse.
The 4 main types of mattresses are:
1. Innerspring mattress
This traditional type of mattress uses coiled springs made of steel or other strong metals and is designed to offer a supportive sleep. These mattresses are usually cheaper than memory foam and latex, but they may wear out faster.
Cheaper innerspring mattresses usually have a single set of springs, while a luxury mattress may have independent pocket springs to provide customised support for different areas of the body. When comparing innerspring mattresses, you should check the coil gauge. This tells you how thick the springs are, with thicker springs offering a firmer sleep.
A spring mattress may be recommended for people who have back problems or are overweight, as it offers firm support while also making it easier to get in and out of bed.
2. Memory foam mattress
Memory foam adapts to the contours of the sleeper's body through repeated use to offer a personalised experience. A luxury memory foam mattress with an open cell structure improves airflow and helps to keep sleepers cool on warm nights.
As well as being extremely comfortable, a memory foam mattress can help to relieve pressure on various parts of the body and to maintain healthy blood flow during sleep. The foam can be treated with anti-dust mite and anti-microbial processes to make it safe for people with asthma or allergies.
Memory foam is the ideal option for side sleepers, as it adjusts to the natural curve of the body to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders. A high density foam mattress can be just as supportive as inner springs for stomach sleepers.
3. Latex mattress
Latex mattresses are becoming more popular in Australia. A latex mattress can be more expensive than memory foam, but they also last longer (up to 25 years) and offer superior comfort and breathability. Latex is also quick to respond when pressure is applied, making it easier to get in and out of bed.
These mattresses are usually firm or medium-firm, suitable for most sleeping styles. A natural latex mattress can be an ideal choice for people who often feel too hot when sleeping, as it doesn't trap heat like some other materials.
More good news is that latex is a naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial material, so you won't have to worry about dust mites or other pests. These are also the easiest type of mattress to clean.
4. Hybrid mattress
If you can't choose between a spring or foam mattress, you don't have to – a hybrid mattress offers the best of both.
Many luxury mattresses combine the personalised support of zoned springs with the indulgent comfort of memory foam, available in different thicknesses to help you strike the perfect balance of comfort and support. Some can even be personalised for each side of the mattress to suit both sleepers' preferences.
What is a non toxic mattress?
Some mattresses contain potentially hazardous compounds such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). These have been linked to a range of health conditions and complications, including mood and hearing disorders, reduced sperm count, thyroid problems, birth defects for pregnant women and even cancer.
Although PDBEs are now banned, these toxic compounds may still be present in older mattresses. Some mattresses sold today contain other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be equally dangerous. To make sure you and your family are safe, ask your mattress store about non toxic mattress options.
What's the best mattress for pregnancy?
If your mattress is old or worn out, this is likely to cause problems during pregnancy. A medium-firm memory foam mattress strikes the right balance for most women, offering plenty of support without being so soft that getting out of bed is difficult.
A non toxic mattress is an important consideration during and after pregnancy, as volatile compounds in some mattresses can cause harm to mothers and their babies.
How to clean a mattress
Whichever type of mattress you buy, it's important that you know how to clean a mattress and that you do this on a regular basis to keep dirt, bacteria and dust mites at bay.
You should clean your mattress at least once a month, or more often if someone in your home has allergies. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt from the surface and baking soda or other methods if you need to remove stains or soak up moisture. Avoid getting your mattress wet, as this encourages mould and mildew growth.
You can help your mattress to stay clean for longer, and extend its lifespan, by covering it with a mattress protector, showering before you get into bed and washing your bedding every week.
How often should you change your mattress?
How long does a mattress last? There's no simple answer to this, as it depends on many factors including the material it's made from, its quality, how often it's used and the sleeper's individual needs.
Generally, it's recommended that you replace an innerspring mattress after 8 years and a memory foam mattress after 8–10 years, while a latex mattress may last 20 years or more.
Older people are more likely to be affected by changes in a mattress. However long you've had your mattress, if you already feel that it isn't giving you the support you need, you should consider replacing it for the sake of your health and comfort.
Where can I find a healthy mattress near me?
Browse DeRUCCI's luxury mattress range online or at your local mattress warehouse in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth or Sydney to find the perfect fit for you. We have innerspring, memory foam and natural latex mattresses to suit different sleeping styles.